Under My Skin by Tango


Disclaimer: I do not own them, get money for writing about them and have no
Rating: This fiction is rated NC-17
Spoiler: Buffy/Angel shipper. All lyrics are from Nine Inch Nails.

Suspending our disbelief now. . . .


//I'm drunk and right now I'm so in love with you. //

Angel sat in the darkness of his apartment, his "cave" as Doyle used to call
it. The whiskey burned warmth into his body as he drank it. He had forgotten
how much he loved the taste of it. He loved the feeling it gave him.
Simplicity at its best. Drowning his sorrows after centuries of almost
completely leaving alcohol alone, he felt slightly guilty. And weak.

He forgot about the weakness as he refilled his glass and took a sip,
letting the memories of Buffy wash over him. His beautiful Buffy. Perfection
in one woman was so rare, but she accomplished it with grace. He thought
about the feel of her skin, her silky lips when they settled over his, the
taste of her rich, powerful blood.

Blood. Buffy's blood. That memory ate away at him. The taste of her, the
power in her veins was personified adrenaline. Thinking about tasting her
again filled him with regret and the demon rattled in its cage.

//I still recall the taste of your tears
Echoing your voice just like the ringing in my ears
My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore,
scraping through my head till I don't want to sleep anymore//

He needed her like a drug and he had been too long without that feeling that
electrified his skin and made the tiny hairs on the back of his neck stand
up. That was part of the reason why she made him feel so alive. If he could
just smell her, just touch her once, he would be good. He wished that he had
a keener feeling of her, something stronger that could lead him straight to
her like a blimp on radar. He wished he could close his eyes and see what
she was doing right then. Right now he would gladly give up his life to feel
her warmth against him again. He could almost smell her arousal. He could
feel her presence as if she was in the room with him. His body shook with
her closeness, his eyes glazed in anticipation, his cold blood was bubbling
inside him.

Stupid. She wouldn't be here and yet she felt so close. He inhaled the scent
of the room deeply. Drunken, he stumbled to his feet and looked anxiously
around the room, convinced he did smell her.

Settling his blurry eyes on the corner near the stairs, he made out a slight

She was there.


//Head like a hole, black as your soul, I'd rather die than give you

Lindsay was giddy as a school boy as he overlooked the shamans completing
the ritual. He felt like clapping his hands and dancing around the room. The
senior partners would be so pleased when this worked. There was no way it

The shamans stood up from their ritual circle and all turned in unison,
their crimson robes sweeping around them, as they faced Lindsay.

"The ritual is completed," he said, his demonic voice scratching at the
still, incensed air.

"When will it kick in?" Lindsay asked, his eyes alight with excitement.

"Immediately," he answered, "She should be feeling it right now."

"And you're positive this will work?"

"It will only work if he is her true love. The spell will make her unable to
control her need of her true soul mate. She will be greatly aroused and will
not be sated until they are made one. Once she has mated with him once, the
spell will take him over as well. They will be unable to control

"Meaning she'll have to have sex with him in order to sate her need?"

"That is correct."

"Then he will lose his soul!" Lindsay, said cheering, "And Angelus will be
loosed on the world again!"

"That we cannot guarantee. We only made sure The Slayer seeks out her true
mate. If Angelus is in fact, her soul mate, she will seek him out."

"Good enough for me, boys! How will it affect Angel?"

"The true mate, once he makes love to her, will be overrun with the emotions
associated with her love. He will do whatever it takes to keep her by his

"How long does the spell last?" Lindsay asked, grinning freely.

"It's hard to say on one as strong as The Slayer. A day or two?"

Lindsay sat back in his desk chair as the Shamans left the room, thinking
about what he would do with all the money he would get with his promotion to
Junior Partner.


//It's a part of me, it's inside of me
It's changing me//

It was hot that night in Sunnydale that night as Buffy started out to
patrol. She had barely made it a block from her air conditioned house before
she broke into a sweat. The air was thick and sticky and it made her skin
feel like a heavy layer of rubber over her lethargic muscles. It was all she
could do to force herself towards the graveyard. The cool, sweet air waiting
back at home beckoned for her audience but she begrudgingly continued,
keeping alert and muttering complaints under her breath.

She tried to ignore the heat and the memory of Angel's hands on her body,
the memory of him rejecting her, throwing her away, the memory of Parker
throwing her away. She had a nice, normal boyfriend now. Riley. He was sweet
and he loved her. And he wasn't Angel.

Vampires. Focus on slaying vampires. Focus on vampires who weren't Angel.

Come on boys, she thought, come out and give Buffy a little distraction. She
hoped the forces of darkness were actually trying tonight.

Halfway through her third cemetery and halfway through her second vampire,
she felt him behind her, tickling her senses more alertly than the sweat
that tickled her skin. She stopped cold and turned around to face him. But
he wasn't there. God, she could have sworn he was. She focused on the feel
of him and made a full circle trying to find him, but he wasn't there and
the feeling of him was gone.

She blushed, feeling the incredible arousal that swept over her body. She
had to get to Angel. Had to feel him against her once more. She broke out in
a run back towards home.


She turned to face Riley. He was slowing her down. She couldn't chat with
her boyfriend now.

Have to get to Angel.

"Riley, I have to go," she said, walking towards home again. He caught up
with her, out of breath.

"Where are you going in such a hurry?"

"I have to go to LA," she said, not slowing her gait.

"What for?"

"Um...unfinished business."

"Buffy, is something wrong? You seem...I don't know...upset."

All of my excuses turn to lies

"Not upset. Just have to hurry, that's all. I don't mean to be rude, Riley.
I just have to get to LA as soon as possible. I'll see you in a couple of
days, okay?"


"Riley," she said, turning to him in front of her house, "I'm good. Okay?
Just need to take care of something. I'm kinda in a hurry."

"Okay," he said reluctantly and watched as she skipped up the stairs of her
house and disappeared inside.

She snatched the keys to her mom's Jeep and scrawled a quick note, letting
her know that she had taken it and would return it in a couple of days. Five
minutes later, she was on the highway.


//Well I want to rip it up and swim in it until I drown
My moral standing is lying down//

Damn near cringing from the feel of him, Buffy dove into Los Angeles. The
memories attacked her senses with almost as much force as the feel of his
presence. Each mile she drove made the feel of him stronger inside her.
Outside his building, she jumped out the SUV and ran to the door, her black
boots making muted thumps against the pavement.

She halted at the front door and decided a sneak attack was in order. She
crept inside and made her way down the stairs. The sight of him, sitting in
his leather chair, bare chested, a drink in his hand, struck her dumb. God,
he was beautiful. She waited for him to feel her there, staring at him. She
waited with increasing impatience as he gingerly took a sip, his lips barely
touching the glass. Buffy was sure that if he didn't touch those lips to her
soon, if he didn't feel her there soon, she was going to lose patience. She
needed his touch. Now. She watched as he raised his head and stood up,
unfolding his hard body from the leather chair and nearly stumbling as he
looked desperately around the room.

Finally, after an eternity of waiting, she locked eyes with him. She loved
the almost smile that tickled his lips and the storm of love attacking her
from his undead eyes.

//What if she touches me with those fingertips
As the words spill out like fire from her lips//

"Hello lover," she purred. She was awash in shock as she realized he was
drunk, swaying softly before her.

"Hello lover," he whispered and stood staring at her, not knowing what to
do, unsure if she was actually real. Buffy crossed the room, her narrow hips
swinging with her movements. She pulled him roughly against her and kissed
him, feeling tension grating underneath her skin. She felt like she would
break apart if he didn't make love to her soon. She tasted the whiskey on
his breath, felt his arousal rising beneath his pants and felt his skin
warming in her embrace.

There was more ecstasy in one of his gentle caresses than whole nights of
making love to other men. Of course, he wasn't a man at all. He was a demon.
An exquisite demon whose soul was so beautiful, it made her want to weep
with joy with the thought that he loved her.

His soul.

She brushed the thought away as she rubbed her silk clad breasts against his
bare chest.

Please Angel, she silently begged.


//I'm on my hands and knees. I want so much to believe//

Riley looked at his watch as he waited for Giles to open his door. It was
late. He hoped he didn't wake him. Giles opened the door, robe clad and
Riley mumbled his apologies.

"Something the matter, Riley?" Giles asked, looking anxious.

"Well, I thought since Buffy had a problem and had to rush to Los Angeles
tonight that you guys might need some help researching whatever the
emergency was, but I guess I was wrong."

"What? Buffy went to LA?"

"Yes," Riley said, looking uneasily at Giles, "She left tonight. You didn't

"No. No, she didn't mention anything. That seems rather odd, doesn't it?"

Giles picked up the phone and spoke urgently to a half asleep Willow, who
also knew nothing of Buffy's departure. Xander, also half asleep, was soon
wide awake when Giles informed him of the situation. No one knew she had
left. Taking a deep breath, Giles made one final call - to Joyce.

"Well, it seems that Buffy left her mother a note and borrowed Joyce's
Jeep," Giles said to the sleepy and recently assembled Scooby Gang, plus

"Buffy doesn't have a driver's license," Willow said, looking worried.

"Yeah, and she can't drive worth a damn," Xander added, looking equally

"What's in LA that would make her go there?" Riley asked, looking around the
room at faces who had the answer and would rather not speak it aloud, "She
seemed like she was in a terrible hurry. In fact, she was sprinting home
when I caught up with her tonight."

"Um..." Willow started.

"Right. I'm going to call Wesley," Giles said, picking up the phone once

"Who's Wesley?" Riley asked.

"Buffy's old Watcher," Xander answered.

"Buffy had different Watcher besides Giles?"

"Oh yeah, Giles is just one in three," Willow said brightly, "But we all
like Giles the best. Buffy fired Wesley."

"Oh," Riley said looking confused.

"Long story," Xander added.

"Watcher's counsel fired Giles and sent Wesley. Buffy fired Wesley and
rehired Giles," Anya said blankly.

"Guess not that long," Xander said, looking over at Giles, who was already
talking to Wesley.


//And I don't want to think too much about what we should or shouldn't do.
Lay my hands on heaven and the moon and the stars//

"Buffy," Angel said, pulling away from her intoxicating lips with much
difficulty, "What are you doing?"

"Seducing you," she said, kissing his neck and rubbing her body against his.

"Can't," he said, his voice slurred with liquor, "We gotta -"

Buffy pressed her lips back against his, pushing her tongue into his mouth,
silencing him and allowing her hands and slide down to his tight rear,
pulling him against her. She pushed him back into his leather chair.

//I know it's not the right thing and I know it's not the good thing
Kinda I want to, kinda I want to//

"Do you love me?" She asked coyly, kneeling before him and unzipping his
pants, pulling his erect cock out.

"Yes," he groaned as her tongue flicked over the soft head.

"Don't you want me?" she asked, pulling her shirt over her head, revealing
her bare chest to him. He stared at her chest, his eyes heavy lidded with
lust and alcohol. Taking him into her mouth, she looked into his eyes,
waiting for his answer.

//If she says come inside, I'll come inside for her
If she says give it all, I'll give everything to her//

"More than anything," he groaned, arching his hips slightly. Buffy stood up
and wiggled out of her tight jeans, and stood naked and celestial before her
demon lover.

"I need to feel you inside me, Angel. I'll die if you don't make love to
me," she whispered, straddling his hips and placing him inside her.

"Please," she whispered as she began to move on his lap, speaking over his
ragged groan. Unable to resist, he pulled one of her nipples into his mouth,
cupping her other breast with his large, cold hand.

Plunging deep inside of her, Angel leaned his head back against the chair,
rolling in the ecstasy of the feel of his love and tried to gain some
composure. Had to stop before he lost his soul.

"Baby, please" he pleaded, his eyes flashing golden for a second as she
continued to move above him, "Please Buffy. We have to stop. Have mercy on
me." Even as he spoke, he had claimed her hips to push her harder against

"You feel so perfect inside me, Angel," she said, her eyes filling with
tears, "Can you imagine any more perfect feeling?" She whispered, nibbling
on his lower lip.

//You make me throw it all away//

"The curse," he whispered against her lips, helpless to stop her. She had to
stop it. He couldn't. Not now.

"Can you imagine the other men who have made love to me? Moving inside me
like this? Is that what you want, Angel? Do you want me to go back to that?"

She watched as his face shifted to his demon form, a loud growl erupting
from somewhere deep inside his muscled chest. Anger was flashing in his
golden eyes. Immense jealousy like he had never felt swam through his veins.

"My mate," he growled, "My beloved."

"Yes," she said, rocking against him, "Yours."

He touched the scar on her delicate neck. His mark on her. He pushed his
hips up, trying to press deeper inside her, to connect with her, to wash
away the other men. In his drunken state, painted with lust, he forgot about
the curse and could only think of making love to his soul mate. They
climaxed together, rolling in waves of delirium, the feel of devout intimacy
and unblemished passion cleansing them.

//Heaven's just a rumor she'll dispel as she walks me through the nicest
parts of hell. I still dream of lips I never should have kissed
Well, she knows exactly what I can't resist//


Hanging up the phone, Giles turned around the face the room, feeling as if
he was on trial. His eyes settled on Riley and thought about how to say what
he needed to say.

"Was that Wesley calling back?" Riley asked.

"Yes," Giles said, allowing his eyes to flip to each of the faces on the
room, "And I think we may have a problem."

"Did Buffy go to Dead Boy?" Xander asked, a look of undisguised disgust
crossing his face.

"Dead Boy?" Riley asked, confused.

"Angel," Willow said weakly.

"Yes," Giles answered, "It appears to be the case."

//I really don't know what you mean//

"And? What does that mean?" Riley asked, "Who's Angel?"

"Buffy's demon lover," Anya blurted.

"Ex," Willow corrected.


"Vampire," Xander added, answering Riley's question.

"She dated a vampire?"

"Well, Angel has a soul, Riley," Willow said, squirming in her seat, looking
over at Tara, who looked just as confused as everyone else.

"I bet he doesn't have one anymore," Xander said, his dark eyes showing pure

"We don't know that for sure...yet," Giles answered, "Wesley and Cordelia
went to Angel's and found them...um...together. They are waiting to see if
he reverts to Angelus."

"So, they have...done...um...they have..." Willow stuttered.

"It seems so," Giles answered.

"What do you mean?" Riley said, looking more and more upset as the
conversation went on, "What have they done? Did she sleep with him? What do
you mean if he reverts to Angelus?"

"Look," Xander said, deciding not to dance around the subject any longer,
"Angel has a soul but the moment he experiences true happiness he loses it
and reverts to his less cuddly demon side, which we all affectionately call

"And Buffy causes Angel true happiness. That's why they broke up," Willow
said, delicately.

And I was feelings some feelings you wouldn't believe
It was pulling me down

"Sex with Buffy?"

"Yep. Now you're getting it," Xander snapped.

"And she had sex with him already?"

"Yes," Giles answered, "Willow, I need you to gather the materials we need
to recurse Angel. I still have the Orb of Thessala on my desk...as a
paperweight. When we have everything we need, we need to get to LA as soon
as possible."

"Before a bunch of people end up dead," Xander said.

"But I don't understand," Willow said reflectively, "Why would Buffy run off
to LA and have sex with Angel? She knows what will happen."

"I'm guessing that it is a spell of some sort," Giles answered, "I cannot
see any other reason for Buffy to do that."

Riley sat back in his chair, staring off, looking at nothing, while inside
his head, a thousand fears and angers and broken emotions jumbled inside of
him. The woman he loved, at this moment, was screwing a vampire.

"I'm going to LA with you," he announced, his voice stern with anger, "So I
can dust that demon piece of shit."

He met every shocked look with the same return glance of enraged


//You give me the reason. You give me control.
I gave you my purity, my purity you stole.
Did you think I wouldn't recognize this compromise?//

Angel picked Buffy up and carefully, slowly walked them to his bedroom,
trying not to trip, while the alcohol still altered his judgement. His
judgement was certainly altered because he should have been begging her to
tie him up or kill him or do something before Angelus emerged. Instead, he
took her to bed.

He placed her on the bed as gently as he would a child and continued
standing to stare at her naked form with worship. He wanted to see her
inflamed nude body in the candlelight. He wanted to look at her through his
soulful eyes while he still could, while he still had a soul.

She held her arms out, beckoning him to fill them. He lowered himself,
blanketing her with his body, loving the delicious feel of her skin against
his. He sipped her mouth, her neck, along her clavicle, savored her breasts
and the valley in between. He moved slowly, leaving a trail of coolness with
his lips as he moved down her belly until he reached the treasure at the
bottom of his journey. Tiny kisses of love turned into passionate
exploration as he laved the contours of her core.

He smiled into her moans, increasing his ministrations in response to her
responses. She arched against him, writhing on his bed as he continued to
please her, worship her. She screamed out his name as she came, shaking
uncontrollably beneath him.

He traveled quickly up her body, entering her as she was still shaking, try
to recover from her climax. She whimpered loudly as he entered, his coldness
branding her insides as he took her.

"I love you, Angel," she whispered between ragged pants as his liquid
movements wrapped her in love.

"I love you," he whispered back. He barely got the words out when the pain
hit. His soul ripped from his body, he stopped his movements, jerking with
the loss of his most precious possession. A cold smile covered his lips as
he began to move in her again, each stroke harder than the one before it.

//You make this all go away.
I'm down to just one thing and I'm starting to scare myself.
You make this all go away. You make this all go away.
I just want something, I just want something I can never have.//

"Angel?" Buffy gasped at her lover.

"Yes," Angelus answered, looking into her eyes. She knew who was moving
inside her but could not bring herself to stop him. He kissed her, roughly
covering her lips with his own. Tension mounting between lovers and sworn
enemies created more heat than either of them expected. They both made
animalistic grunts as the love making became more base, more raw. He took
her violently, reaching beneath them and grabbing her firm ass, to pull her
harder against him. She wrapped her legs around his waist and slammed back
against him.

"Angelus," she screamed as she climaxed, as his fangs broke her skin, as his
cold seed poured into her, as her blood poured into him. When her orgasm
passed, she waited for him to pull his lips from her throat. Just as she
began to panic, as she wondered if he would try to kill her, he released her
neck and gently licked the wound that lay exactly over his previous mark on
her. He pulled himself away, just enough so he could look her in the eyes.

He was smiling like a warrior who had just defeated his greatest foe. Her
face was distorted by worry but she didn't move away and he smiled more

"I've been waiting for this for a long time, Buff," he said, huskily as he
hardened once more, still inside her.

"To drink my blood?"

"No," he whispered, moving inside her again, "Although that was delicious. I
meant fucking you."

She looked at him blankly.

"To fuck you as the true me. As Angelus, not your feeble souled lover," he
said as he flipped her over on her hands and knees, still inside her, "To
take you as the proper demon in me should." Taking her slim hips in his
hands, he growled with triumph, moving inside the slick heat of The Slayer.


//You had them all on your side//

Once they arrived at Angel's, Riley gripped his crossbow firmly and headed
to the stairs to get to Buffy - and more importantly, to Angel. He couldn't
wait to kill that undead bastard and his whole body shook with anger. First,
Buffy cheated on him and he was willing to forgive her if she had, in fact,
been under a spell, but that vampire was going to pay.

"Riley," Willow said, pulling on his arm, "Wait. We have to curse him

"You curse him again and I'm going to be downstairs, making sure Buffy's
okay. I'll kill him if I get a chance, so if you want to save him you'd
better curse him quick."

"But Riley-" Willow started and then closed her mouth again. She knew there
was no point in trying to talk him out of it, so she dropped her hand from
his arm and watched him go.

"I'll go with you," Xander said, stepping in behind Riley, Wesley and
Cordelia as they headed downstairs.

"Could you guys help me perform the spell?" She said to Giles, Anya and
Tara. She set her bag down on the desk and began pulling her supplies out.
She pulled out the spell last, written carefully on a piece of paper. After
they set up all of the materials, she closed her eyes and took a deep
breath. Please work.


//I can't shake this feeling from head
There's a devil sleeping in my bed//

Buffy awoke and felt Angelus blanketing her back, spooning around her.

Oh my God, she thought remembering the night before, What have I done?

She felt the hot tears pouring from her eyes as she scooted away from him
and off the bed. Pain shot through her from loss of contact with her lover
but she continued away, confused. Her whole body was covered with soreness
as she moved away from the bedroom. She felt the sobs rack violently through
her and she searched for her clothes. Scooping them up by the leather chair,
she couldn't control the tremors in her hands or the rain of tears as she
put them on.

She had done it again. This time it could have been avoided. She tried to
think back on what had happened but she didn't understand. She had been out
of her mind with lust. She couldn't control it. She knew he would lose his
soul. She knew without a shadow of a doubt but she couldn't stop herself.
She focused on the pain that covered her body, as if being away from him was
the cause of it.

She killed the person she loved more than anyone in the world. Again. She
lowered herself to the chair and let her grief take her over. She knew she
had to kill him but she couldn't make it back tothe bedroom. She couldn't
take the step that was necessary to end it before someone died, before the
world began to suffer once again from the most demonic and evil of all

//Why's it come as a surprise? To think I was so naive.
Maybe didn't mean that much, but it meant everything to me.//

Angelus woke to sharp physical pain and realized it was because she was no
longer touching him. Strange.He sensed her near and knew that she hadn't
left yet. He quickly crossed over to his closet and pulled on his leather
pants before walking out to the living room. He found her sitting in his
leather chair, crying like a lost child. He thought about killing the bitch
but for some reason, his heart couldn't bare the thought of her death.

He knew he must have been under some sort of spell because last night, while
his soul was still intact, he couldn't stop her and she couldn't stop
herself. No matter. Now all he knew was that he had to get to her to make
the pain stop sweeping over him. Whatever the spell was, he thought he ought
to thank someone for it. He was free, he had The Slayer's blood inside him
and her scent all over his skin.

"Why so sad?" He said crossing the room, his bare feet padding on the floor.

"I killed you. Again," she said through her tears, too weak to run or try to
fight him.

"No, you freed me. Again," he said, towering over her, looking down at her
blonde head. Reaching out to touch her, they both sighed with relief as the
pain quickly left their bodies.

"Must have been a spell," she mumbled through her tears. He grabbed her
shoulders and pulled her up, crushing his lips against hers, feeling her
tears scald his skin like holy water.

//There's nothing left for me to hide. I lost my ignorance, purity and

"Who the fuck cares?" He growled as he reached underneath her shirt, feeling
for her firm breasts.

"Angelus," she whispered, "Please don't."

"You'll have to stop me," he said, kissing the raw wound on her throat and
nipping her neck with his blunt teeth. She moaned in pleasure and pain.

"Please," she begged, "I can't do this again."

"You belong to me," he growled again, "And I will take you as often as I
like - soul or not."

"Get your goddamn hands off of her."

Angelus and Buffy jerked their heads at once to the sound of the voice
across the room. Riley stood at the bottom of the stairs with Xander, Wesley
and Cordelia standing behind him. He had a crossbow in his hands and it was
pointing at the lovers.


//Why are you doing this to me?
Am I not living up to what I'm supposed to be?
Why am I seething with this animosity?//

"Riley," Buffy whimpered.

"Another one of your white knights, galloping up to save you, Buff?" Angelus
asked, with a smirk, turning slowly to face his lover's boyfriend, "Who the
fuck are you?"

"I'd be the boyfriend," he answered, his eyes sharp with anger, "And you
need to get the hell away from her."

"Riley, huh? And Xander? And look, there are my faithful employees. Guess
you were right, Cordy. Perfect happiness works every time. Does this look
like my ¡¥Buffy-face'?" He asked as his face transformed to his demon

"Angel, don't," Cordy gasped, trying to think of a way to talk her way out
the situation but her mind was blank. The only thing she could think of was
Hurry, Willow. Please hurry.

"Why not?" He asked smiling, "It's so much fun."

Buffy was standing there next to him in a daze. Guilt covered her beautiful
face - guilt for cheating on Riley, for sleeping with Angel and again with
Angelus, guilt for being unable and unwilling to walk away from him. She was
numb all over and all she could feel was the tears streaming down her

The spell, she thought with alarm, is that why I can't turn away from him?
She felt like she would crumble to dust if she stepped away from him. She
prayed that Willow was upstairs cursing him again.

"Buff, I like your boyfriend. He's so noble, storming in here to protect you
from me, as if he could hurt me," Angelus snorted, flipping his hand out to
catch the arrow that catapulted across the room from Riley's bow. Snapping
it with one hand, he tossed it away.

"Feel free to leave, boy. This is between me and my mate. You don't have to
die today," Angelus announced, feeling more like sex than fighting. He flung
his arm around Buffy's waist and pulled her close to him.

"Get your hands off of my girlfriend," Riley said, shooting another arrow at
Angelus' heart, which was caught in the same fashion as the last and tossed

"Buffy, do something," Xander yelled from the base of the stairs.

//I swear I just found everything I need.
The sweat in your eyes, the blood in your veins are listening to me.//

"I-I can't," she stuttered, reaching up to touch the red holes in her neck,
shrinking as Angelus let out a riotous laugh.

He wanted nothing more to rush across the room and snap the boy's neck. That
little fuck thought he could claim his mate? But he couldn't make himself
step away from her side. Something kept him there, almost needing to be able
to touch her, to feel her warmth. I'm acting like my weaker half, he thought
with disgust, but still made no move to separate himself from her.

"Buffy, walk to me," Riley said, his voice almost a growl. Angelus gripped
her tighter, almost feeling the bruise he was creating, as he dug his
fingers into the soft flesh of her hip. She moaned lightly from the pain of
his grip but made no move to stop him or to dislodge his painful hold.

"Riley," she whispered with unadulterated tears still streaming down her

"She is mine, boy. Leave us," Angelus commanded.

"She doesn't belong to you," Riley said, his blue eyes made of ice.

"Really?" Angelus snarled, sweeping her hair aside to show the red, ugly
proof of his claim on her, "If she doesn't belong to me, why did she allow
me to feed off her? Do you really think that I could force this neat of a
bite on a fighting Slayer?"

Eyes widened around the room as they stared at her neck. She looked at the
floor in shame as she reddened from the eyes that dug into her.

//You give me the anger. You give me the nerve.
Carry out the sentence. I get what I deserve.
Your need for me has been replaced.
And if I can't have everything well then just give me a taste//

"Delicious," Angelus said, as he licked her neck, "Best taste in the world."

A third arrow shot out as Angel was focusing on her neck. Buffy caught it
and held it tightly inside her hand for a moment before letting it slip to
the floor.

"Guess she really wants me to die," he said with a chilling smile.

Just as he finished speaking, power of the curse came over him and he
dropped to the floor with a loud groan, his eyes glowing momentarily with
the return of his soul. Pain ripped through his body with the entrance of
his misplaced essence and another shot of pain traveled through both Buffy
and Angel from loss of contact with each other.

"Angel," she gasped and fell to her knees, reaching out to touch him again.

"Buffy," he groaned, looking into her tearful eyes, "Weren't we just making
love? When did everyone get here?"

Just as before, he didn't remember anything of the past few hours when he
had reverted to Angelus, but he feared he would remember soon enough. She
didn't answer, just kept looking at him.

"You bastard," Riley said, stomping across the room dropping his empty
crossbow and pulling a stake from his pocket.

"Riley, please," Buffy whispered, "don't."

She helped Angel to his feet and sat him down in the leather chair.

"I'm killing that bastard," Riley shouted, still moving toward Angel, "He
fed off you!"

Holding Angel's hand, she stepped in front of the chair, blocking Riley's
path, "I let him," she whispered.

"YOU WHAT?" Riley screamed in unison with Xander's frustrated, "AGAIN?".

//so what, so what does it matter now//

"I let him," she whispered again.

Angel stood and swept her hair again away to see his new marks in her scar.
He let out a groan of pain and felt tears fill his eyes as nausea swept over

"Oh my God," he said, pulling her into his arms, while everyone gasped in
shock at his response and tears, "I'm so sorry, love," he whispered crying
onto her shoulder, "I'm so sorry."

Pulling back, he looked intently in her eyes, "Why didn't you kill me,

"I couldn't."

Riley stepped closer and pulled Angel away from Buffy. He punched him hard
in the face, making him stumble back a step. Angel took a glance at Buffy,
who was still standing in the same spot, unable to clear her muddled mind,
unable to decide on a course of action.

"You piece of shit," he yelled as he swung to hit him again, which Angel
instinctively blocked.

"I'm sorry," Angel said, parrying Riley's next swing.

"You're sorry? You fed off Buffy and you're sorry! That's what you have to
say? You're disgusting," Riley said, plunging the stake at Angel. Angel
sidestepped and kicked Riley, sending him hard to the floor.

"Yeah, I'm sorry," Angel said, "But I'm not just going to let you stake me."

He walked over and pulled Buffy into his arms again, feeling the pain ebb
away. Buffy saw Riley coming up behind them, brandishing his stake. Buffy
pushed Angel aside as Riley raised his arm to plunge and then blocked
Riley's blow, sending the stake flying across the room.

"Stop," she said, reaching out to Angel, who grabbed her hand and pulled
himself back to his feet.

"Why are you protecting him?" Riley asked, trying to keep his voice from
becoming a yell as Giles, Anya, Tara and Willow came tromping down the

"Because I love him," she said, her voice full of shame.

"Buffy? Are you okay?" Giles asked as he made his way over, looking at Angel

Buffy looked at the floor. How do I answer that question?

"Did it work?" Willow asked, following Giles closely.

"Yes," Angel answered softly, "Thank you again, Willow."

"You're welcome again. Angel, I have something to tell you," She said in a
low, even voice.

"Okay," he said, gently, feeling like he would be brooding for years to come
over today.

"I changed the curse," she said.

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked.

"I took out the happiness clause. I made the curse permanent this time, so
this wouldn't happen again."

Angel stood, staring at Willow in shock as his grip on Buffy's hand
tightened, "Thank you. I was hoping you could help me with something else."

"Haven't you asked for enough?" Xander asked, his voice strident with anger.

"Yes, but this is for Buffy too. I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but
someone has performed some sort of spell on us. The reason Buffy couldn't
fight me even when I was Angelus is because there's a spell over us. If
contact is broken, I feel physical pain and I'm guessing she does too."

Buffy nodded in agreement, looking down at their clasped hands. Riley let
out the breath he was holding, believing that everything had been explained.
Once the spell was broken, she would come home with him and all would be
okay again. He hoped.

"I was hoping you could help us break the spell," Angel said.

"What does it feel like exactly?" Giles asked, his face covered with

"Like desperation," Buffy answered quietly, "Like I can't stand to not touch

"Someone wanted Angel to lose his soul," Willow said.

"Yes, I think so," Angel said, "Last night, it was as if we had no control
over our emotions." He failed to mention that he had been drunk and could
have stopped it.

"Research then," Wesley said crisply, speaking for the first time.

Buffy and Angel were both exhausted. They made their excuses and went to
Angel's bed. Crawling beneath the covers together, Angel wrapped himself
around her.

"I'm so sorry, love," he whispered, kissing the nearly healed mark on her

"It's okay, Angel," she whispered back, "It was all my fault anyway."

"No," Angel said sternly, "Don't you ever blame yourself. Ever. I love you."

"I love you."


//Don't tear it away from me. I need you to hold on to. Don't tear it away
from me. I need you to hold on to. Don't tear it away from me. I need you to
hold on to.//

Buffy woke up and found Angel gone. She sat up and yelled his name, even
though she felt no pain from his absence. He came running in the room with
Riley directly behind him, scooping her in his arms.

"It's okay, love," he whispered.

"Get away from her. Spell's broken. You have no reason to touch her now,"
Riley said, his arms crossed, willing himself not to rip Angel from her

"What was the spell?"

"Willow was just about to tell us. Come on," he said, standing and tugging
her up. They all filed into Angel's living room to find the group waiting
for their return.

"Please continue, Willow," Giles asked, nodding at Willow as he cleaned his

"It was a very old spell. Actually we think it was two different spells put
together, " Willow began, "And very strong if they both felt pain when they
were separated. Basically...um..." she paused feeling almost guilty in
admitting the truth, "the spell causes the subject, which was Buffy, in this
case, to seek out her...uh...soul mate."

//I lean backwards inside of me//

"What?!" Riley yelled, making Willow jump and startling everyone else.

"Essentially," she continued in a voice more timid than before, "the spell
causes the person to seek out their soul mate and then the other spell
caused her to...have to...."

"Hump like bunnies," Cordelia added.

"Yeah," Willow added, "And once they do that, they can't fight the urge to
keep doing that until the spell is broken."

"That's why Angelus didn't attempt to kill you, Buffy," Giles said, "And
that's why you couldn't fight him...or why you didn't want to."

"Soul mate?" Riley asked, weakly, returning to the central point.

//He's watching you from across the way. I cannot make this feeling go

Buffy looked down at the floor, searching her mind for something to say and
coming up empty.

How could one argue with the truth?

Angel shifted uncomfortably from across the room, burning holes into his
love with his piercing gaze.

Where do we go from here?

"Apparently," Wesley said, "The spell only works in cases of soul mates. The
subject would go directly to their soul mate and no other person would be
able to fulfill the spell."

Silence filled the room, drowning it's inhabitants with weighty evidence of
the truth.


//It comes down to this - your kiss, your fist and your strain -
it gets under my skin - within - take in the extent of my sin//

"Buffy," Angel started, as they stood alone in the office, with everyone
downstairs, waiting for them to return from their talk, "I don't know what
to do."

"I know," she said, anger filling her voice, "And if you think you can talk
your way out of it this time, you're wrong. You heard them. Soul Mates."

"But you deserve a normal life," he said, his voice quivering with more
emotion than he wanted to show.

"I'm the Slayer. I won't ever have a normal life."

"Children," he whispered.

"I want my life to be with you," she whispered back, her eyes wide,
repeating the haunting words that she spoke in the sewers, "I never changed
my mind about that."

"I love you so much, I can't let you waste your life with me in the

"How could loving someone be a waste?"

"I'm a demon."

"You're a demon with a permanent soul now. A permanent soul that is more
beautiful than most humans I know. You're no longer a threat to the world.
The only person you can hurt now is me...if you leave me...again."


"Angel, please. Let's not logic ourselves out of this. I need you in my
life. I won't ever have normal. Children wouldn't ever be safe and you know
that. How could I be pregnant and still be The Slayer without dying? Picnics
can be had at night. Ants are friendlier."

"Buffy, I don't know if this is a good idea..."

"Angel, do you love me?"

"Yes, of course. Always."

"Do you want to be with me?"

"More than anything," he repeated his words from the night before.

"Then stay with me. Please."

"I'll stay."

"Promise me forever, Angel."

//Promise carved in stone deeper than the sea//

"I promise. Forever," he said, gasping his words, praying she wouldn't hate
him in fifty years when he was still a demon and she was without a family.


//Now all that I've been hearing must be true.
I guess I'm not the only boy for you.
But that's what I get, that's what I get//

"Buffy, I love you," Riley said, his voice betraying him. He knew that he
had already lost her.

"I know, Riley. I'm sorry."

"Please don't do this. I know I can make you happy. I know I can," he

"I'm so sorry, Riley. I never meant for this to happen. I never meant to
hurt you. I thought there was never going to be a way for Angel & I to be
together again. I was trying to move on with my life..."

"You still can."

"No, I can't. I need him."

"Have you thought about the future, Buffy? What about the days ahead when
you age and he'll still be young; when you want to have children?"

"Yes, I've thought about the future many, many times since Angel came into
my life."

"Don't you see what will happen? You're going to regret this someday, Buffy.
You can come home with me and I'll marry you. I'll devote my whole life to

"I appreciate it, Riley. I really do and I don't want to hurt you. The
likelihood of my aging is very slim and I want to spend what time I have on
this earth with my soul mate."

Those words again. Soul Mate. It jarred Riley's insides. He knew he couldn't
argue with that. He had hoped she wouldn't say it. He knew that for the rest
of his life, those words would make him want to weep.

"Please, Buffy. I'm begging you here. Come back to me, give me a chance."

///If I was twice the man I could be, I'd still be half of what you need.
Still you lead me and I follow. Anything you ask, you know I'll do. //

"I'm sorry," she repeated.

"You will be...someday," he whispered and walked out of the room, out of the
building and onto the street, uncertain of where he was going or how he was
getting there. He never wanted to see her beautiful face again. The thought
of her sleeping, wrapped in his arms; the thought of that demon making love
to her, was enough to make him want to step out into traffic. Instead, he
headed for the closest bar to drown his sorrows.


//This is the only time I really feel alive. This is the only time I really
feel alive.//

The apartment was empty. Everyone was gone and Buffy and Angel were left
with heavy silence.

"Are you sorry?" Buffy asked, curled up next to Angel on the couch.

"No," he said, pulling her onto his laps and kissing her deeply, "I love
you. I just don't want you to be sorry. You can still walk away."

She loved the feeling of his chest rumbling against her as he spoke.

"Shut up," she said, kissing him, shifting to straddle him.

"Yes ma'am," he answered, smiling, slipping his hand into the back of her
pants and slipping another under her thin shirt.

"Excuse me, sir," she said coyly.

"Yes?" He answered, smiling even more broadly at her moan as he lightly
pinched her nipple and kissed her neck.

"You're edging on naughty touching," she moaned, grinding herself into his
rising arousal.

"Edging? Guess I'd better try harder then," he said in a low voice, slipping
his hand down the front of her pants, connecting with her inner folds.

"Guess so," she said, kissing him again. He picked her up and carried her to
the bedroom. Tumbling to the bed, laughing together, they began forever.

//I am justified. I am purified. I am sanctified inside you//

The End.


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